Gust Gores ‘em at Wild, Wooly and Wet Balance ATV Event
The Bluegrass ATV National at Kentucky's Ballance MX, really had a little of everything. The weather was all over the map but mostly cold. Sunday it really went wacky.
Team Manager Kory Ellis described the action "Dustin got off fourth in the first moto and caught up with the John Natalie pretty quickly. John was riding hard but made a slight mistake and crashed really hard. Fortunately he was OK and got going again but was way back."
Chad Wienen got off the gate well, but was caught up in 1st turn pile-up, ending up around 19th on the first lap. He started charging like a maniac, moving forward quickly. The track was on the verge of being muddy - but slowly started drying out.
As the moto started developing, it settled in with Wimmer in the lead and Gust a steady second. Wimmer ended up with the win, Doug second and Chad came all the way back up to 4th.
"The track was pretty good really." Wimmer said after the moto one win. "It was pretty tacky and I found some pretty good lines. Once I got out front - I just rode smooth and pulled away."
The second moto was a lot different! The track was really muddy for the start of the second moto. The rain really started coming down and it was going to be one of those "survival" deals. Gust - knowing that the start was all-important pulled the hole-shot. His clean goggles were a huge advantage as the race progressed.
Dustin had a lousy start in the muddy mess. "At the start it was pouring down rain, I didn't prep my gate enough and when the gate dropped, just slithered all over the place. I got roosted so bad on the first lap, the mud was so heavy that I couldn't hardly hold my head up - my helmet was just kinda rolling around!"
It got even worse for the series points leader, "My goggles were wasted and I was going off jumps blind- it was really scary. With about four laps to go I had to take my goggles off. I also started to my bike. There was so much weight in mud on the thing that I wanted to be sure and be as smooth as possible. There were a lot of people who DNF'd out there, I didn't want to be one of them."
The end of the race was true survival according to Dustin: "Everyone was just more or less rolling all the jumps. It had become dangerous to try and jump them, especially with all the mud weight on the quads.
Meanwhile, back up front, Natalie was riding hard and Doug was having trouble shifting his bike as a rock had stuck between his shifter and the cases. Fortunately the quad was stuck in second gear and in the muddy conditions that wasn't such a bad thing. Natalie passed Doug for the lead, with about two laps to go, and about the same time Doug's rock finally fell out. "I couldn't jump the jumps being stuck in second but no one else was doing them anyway. Once it fell out and I could shift again, it really didn't make that much of a difference."
While everyone else was making mistakes or blowing up their bikes, Doug carefully chose his lines knowing that he just needed to follow Natalie home for the overall win. Doug's 2-2 scores did indeed net him the overall win, and the top podium step - a place Gust is very familiar with.
Doug was really excited after the race, "I had a great weekend. It feels really good - awesome. I did it today," the Wisconsin native said. "The second moto really rained pretty hard. The track was soupy and very slick. I knew I had to get a good start and I really concentrated and got the holeshot. Then I got a stinkin' rock stuck in my shifter and John got by me. But by then, I had the overall locked up so it was OK."
The remaining Team Rockstar/MSR/Suzuki/Yoshimura/Pro Taper rider Chad Wienen bottomed out on a rock and poked a hole in his engine cases. He was forced to DNF. Chad has been getting all of his bad luck out of the way in the beginning part of the season. He will have to wait for a top result at the next round in Virginia.